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Local organizations receive $2.8 million in grants

Each year the U.S. Venture Open, a golf outing, raises money to break the cycle of poverty.
APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) - Each year the U.S. Venture Open, a golf outing, raises money to break the cycle of poverty.

The funds are matched by the J.J. Keller Foundation and then distributed through community foundations in Green Bay, Oshkosh and the Fox Valley.

Wednesday,  the program reached a milestone.

"$2.8 million dollars of impact in a small region like this is truly incredible" says Mary Harp-Jirschele, Executive Director of the J.J. Keller Foundation.

In the past 29 years The Basic Needs Giving Partnership has award more than $14 million in grants.

"We have to keep trying, somebody has to keep trying" says Cathy Mutschler, Director of the U.S. Venture Open.

"The root causes of poverty are different, it is difficult to figure out what they are. Is it education. Is it jobs which comes from a lack of education" Harp-Jirschele adds.

NeighborWorks Green Bay is one of 104 organizations receiving a grant.

The money will help remodel an abandoned warehouse into a project called "The Farmory".

"It is going to be an indoor urban farm serving low and moderate income residents in the community and area veterans. It will teach them farming skills, and apply the knowledge that they learned there perhaps to a new job" explains Noel Halvorsen, Executive Director of NeighborWorks Green Bay..  

Like 70 percent of grant recipients, NeighborWorks is not tackling their project alone.

"Sometimes when an organization looks to help people they fall into the trap of trying to be everything to the people they are trying to serve" Halvorsen explains. "Working with other agencies we can work at the things we are good at".  

For donors, this year's milestone giving is something to celebrate.

"That was way over what I thought it was going to be over last year, that is leaps and bounds growth" says donor Peter Radford.

According to Halvorsen "These resources at this time can help us focus on our mission, serve clients and help make the community a better place".

Here is a look at this year's recipients:


FY 2014 Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants

$2,862,853 in new grant commitments

$2,306,346 in grants distributed


Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region

$689,298 in new grant commitments

$839,015 in grants distributed


Academic Support in Little Chute: $47,350 (Year 2 of 3, $142,000 total)

A new Boys & Girls Club in Little Chute to provide academic support for elementary school students while positively affecting their emotional, social and physical development.

Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club Fox Valley, Little Chute Elementary School


Affordable Access to Healthcare: $40,000

To support the addition of a Health Access Coordinator position.

Collaborators:  Partnership Community Health Center, Inc., Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Fox Cities health care providers


Appleton Ready to Read: $15,000 (Year 1 of 3, $45,000 total)

To improve kindergarten readiness of Hmong and Hispanic children in Appleton, an indicator of long-term academic success.

Collaborators:  Friends of Appleton Public Library, Appleton Area School District


Mental Health Access for Children: $100,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)

To hire two additional therapists, increasing the number of child patients who can be treated by 20%

Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Affinity Health System


“Cuidate” Program: $5,000 (Year 2 of 3, $15,000 total)

To implement a national framework for Latino teens to fulfill their full potential in life by focusing on the reduction of teen pregnancy.

Recipient:  Partnership Community Health Center


Dementia-friendly Community: $75,304 (Year 2 of 3, $228,156 total)

To develop memory cafés, a family welcome/resource center, dementia assessment center and employment support initiatives to serve individuals with dementia and their families.

Collaborators: Lutheran Social Services, UW Family Residency, ThedaCare

Economic Empowerment for Women: $50,000 (Year 2 of 3, $145,000 total)

For a full-time economic advocate to work with domestic abuse victims to partner with businesses and community partners to secure sustainable employment and permanent housing.

Collaborators: Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs, COTS, Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities


Education, Support, Outreach and Advocacy: $15,000 (Year 2 of 2, $30,000 total)

To support critical mental health programs.

Recipient:  NAMI Fox Valley


Head Start Preschool Vision Screening: $5,000 (Year 3 of 3, $15,000 total)

To support preschool vision screening for low-income children attending 8 Head Start sites in Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties.

Recipient: Prevent Blindness Wisconsin


Homelessness Prevention Research and Strategic Planning:  $20,000

To research issues related to homelessness in the Fox Cities and develop a comprehensive plan to move from treatment to prevention of homelessness. 

Collaborators:  Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities, City of Appleton, Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley, Greater Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Services, LEAVEN, Appleton Housing Authority, Fox Valley Warming Shelter, COTS


Homeowner Family Education: $15,000 (Year 3 of 3, $45,000 total)

To enhance the family education program by adding a position focusing on expanding and providing better access to the education curriculum.

Recipient:  Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity


Hope Bus: $15,000 planning grant

To research and develop a new initiative related to destigmatizing mental illness.

Recipient: NAMI Fox Valley, Inc.


Hope Lives Suicide Prevention and Intervention Program Expansion:  $15,000

To support start-up costs for hiring and training three new full-time therapists for the suicide prevention and intervention program.

Recipient:  CHAPS Academy


New Start Boutique: $10,000

To support the New Start Boutique at the Community Clothes Closet.

Recipient: Community Clothes Closet


No Wrong Door: Referral Access Information Link Pilot: $87,500 (Year 1 of 3, $190,000 total)

To train managers and front-line staff in the “no wrong door” philosophy and implement R.A.I.L., a web-based mental health referral system.

Collaborators:  NEW Mental Health Connection, Inc., NAMI Fox Valley, Samaritan Counseling Center, Catalpa Health


Oral Health for Children: $15,000 (Year 1 of 3, $45,000 total)

To create an orthodontics program for children with severe oral health problems from low-income households. Recipient: Tri-County Community Dental Clinic

PATH for Students Program Expansion: $100,000 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total)

To expand the pilot PATH in-school mental health program to eight additional school districts.

Collaborators:  United Way Fox Cities, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Service of Wisconsin


Positive Youth Development: $15,000 (Year 1 of 3, $45,000 total)

To help Youth Go serve the increased number of youth coming to the facility for guidance and support.

Recipient:  Youth Go, Inc.


Rural Health Initiative Expansion: $25,000 (Year 1 of 2, $40,000 total)

To expand the Rural Health Initiative into Outagamie and Waupaca counties, providing preventive health services to underinsured farm families and employees. 

Collaborators:  Rural Health Initiative, Inc., Outagamie County, Waupaca County


Savings for Personal Growth: $35,000 (Year 1 of 3, $75,000 total)

To help low-income residents move from dependence to self-sufficiency by learning to save, and then putting away money for education, a home or a small business.

Collaborators:  Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, FVTC Foundation


ServiceWorks Program Expansion: $62,194 (Year 1 of 3, $123,398 total)

To expand the ServiceWorks program, enrolling ex-prisoners and helping them develop work skills and references while working to create public park space and gardens at Riverview Gardens.

Collaborators:  COTS, Riverview Gardens, Ryan Community


Weight of the Fox Valley Development Measures: $15,000 planning grant

To develop measures for this emerging collaboration to help community members achieve and maintain a healthy weight at every age.

Collaborators:  Weight of the Fox Valley Leadership Team (37 organizations in Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago Counties)


Recovery from Addiction Program: $15,000 (Year 2 of 3, $45,000 total)

For a recovery coach to focus on the special needs of those recovering from the disease of opiate addiction.

Recipient:  STEP Industries


Teen Screen: $41,667 (Year 2 of 3, $125,000 total)

To expand a successful pilot providing emotional wellness screenings to prevent teen suicide.

Collaborators: Samaritan Counseling Center, CHAPS Academy, Catalpa Health, Lawrence University.




$1,229,555 in new grant commitments

$791,680 in grants distributed


At-Risk Youth Employment and Training in Oconto County: $51,355 (Year 1 of 3, $156,545 total)

To begin a work and training program for Oconto County youth, ages 16-21, in the foster care and juvenile justice system.  Collaborators: New Beginnings/Oconto County Partnership, UW Extension Oconto County, Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin


Children First Family Literacy Program:  $59,394 (Year 2 of 3, $179,660 total)

Aims to break the cycle of family poverty through the support of the literacy needs of the whole family. 

Collaborators: Literacy Green Bay, Inc., YWCA Green Bay – De Pere, Northwest Technical College


The Farmory: $25,000 planning grant + $100,000 (Year 1 of 3, $175,000 total)

To develop an indoor farm and agri-business entrepreneurial program at the former Armory in Green Bay, targeting low income residents and veterans who seek to learn farming, improve their job skills or start a new business.

Collaborators: NeighborWorks Green Bay, WaterWorks Garden Supply, Ehub, NWTC


Financial Coaching Services: $35,000 (Year 3 of 3, $160,000 total)

To improve the retention and graduation rates of low-income students by improving their financial acumen through education and one-on-one counseling. 

Collaborators: NWTC, FISC/Goodwill, Fox Communities Credit Union


Great Futures Program: $35,000 new + $50,000 (Year 1 and 3 of 3, $185,000 total)

To strengthen the financial self-sufficiency of older teens and young adults through a coordinated approach by providing college and vocational exploration and access, career development, and paid entry level work experience, including an internship program with local employers across several industries, especially in minority owned and operated businesses.

Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay, Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Green Bay Area Public School District


Long-term Supportive Transitional Housing Program: $27,200 (Year 1 of 3, $125,000 total)

To address the increasing need of homeless families by providing resources for qualified families on the waitlist who have some income but are experiencing situational poverty, and families who have participated in the traditional transitional housing program but still have barriers.  The collaboration will work with rental property managers instead of the traditional model of purchasing properties for transitional housing.

Collaborators: Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, The Salvation Army


Missions of Mercy: $12,500

To address patients’ most pressing dental problems and relieve them of their pain.  Approximately 2,000 patient visits will be provided over three days by volunteer dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and other volunteers.

Recipient: Wisconsin Dental Health Association Foundation, Inc.


Responder Program: $21,560 planning grant

To collect community information and develop a process for referrals for trauma-based mental health, behavioral health and attendance issues, both in schools and the community.

Collaborators: Green Bay Area Public Schools, Brown County Human Services, Green Bay Municipal Courts, Green Bay Police Department, Community Mental Health Advisory Committee


Seeds 2 Service: $11,900 (Year 2 of 3, $51,884 total)

To establish an after-school and summer school program to educate students in grades 3 to 5 about nutrition and sustainability through gardening, while promoting intergenerational interaction.

Collaborators: Gillett School District, UW Extension-Oconto County, Woodlands of Gillett, Gillett PTO, NE Wisconsin Garden Club, Gillett Public Library


SOS for Dementia Care: $97,250 (Year 1 of 2, $194,500 total)

Work with families to provide in-home care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or similar disorders with a goal of improving mental, physical and emotional health, safety and independence through home assessments and innovative techniques and technologies. 

Collaborators: N.E.W. Curative Rehabilitation, Options for Independent Living, Aging and Disabilities Resource Center of Brown County


Summer Learning Initiative: $59,350 (Year 1 of 3, $259,350 total)

To provide youth with summer access to learning opportunities to prevent summer learning loss in reading and math through the support and expansion of summer wrap-around programming at high need elementary schools. 

Collaborators: Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay, Green Bay Area Public School District


Supporting Our Families Together project (SOFT): $45,000 (Year 2 of 3, $135,000 total)

To efficiently provide services to unsheltered families with children with the ultimate goal of ending homelessness. 

Collaborators: Freedom House Ministries, Inc., Integrated Community Solutions-Crisis Center, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin


Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Transition Assistance Program: $25,100 planning grant

Description: Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Transition Assistance Program will pilot that includes, an employment partnership, providing joint client assistance dollars, and offering employment services six months prior to youth leaving foster care and continuing up to three years after. 

Collaborators: Bay Area Workforce Development Board, American Foundation for Counseling Services, CASA of Brown County, Brown County Human Services



$374,000 in new grant commitments

$305,651 in grants distributed


The Hub: $14,000 planning grant + $75,000 (Year 1 of 2, $164,000 total)

A community-wide initiative combining emergency/crisis intervention services with long-term coaching services, with the ultimate goal of financial stability for participating households.

Collaborators: ADVOCAP, CitizensFirst Credit Union, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, Oshkosh Area United Way, Saint Vincent De Paul Society Oshkosh, UW-Extension, Winnebago County Department of Health and Human Services


Oshkosh Housing Continuum Gaps: $12,000 planning grant

To identify possible solutions to address the gaps in Oshkosh's incomplete housing continuum.

Collaborators: Winnebagoland Housing Coalition

Women, Poverty & Economics: $12,500 planning grant

To identify the needs of women in poverty and coordinate services to address those needs.

Collaborators: Oshkosh Area United Way, Fox Valley Technical College, UW Oshkosh Head Start, Oshkosh Area Community Pantry, ADVOCAP, Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh, UW Oshkosh


Connected Community TeenScreen: $26,816 (Year 1 of 3, $60,000 total)

To help prevent teen suicide by providing free emotional wellness screening to students at public and private schools in Oshkosh, Omro and Winneconne school districts.

Recipient: The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley


Oral Health Care for Children: $15,000 (Year 1 of 3, $45,000 total)

To provide orthodontics for children with severe oral health problems from low-income households in southern Winnebago County.

Recipient: Tri-County Community Dental Clinic


Memory Café Launch: $8,335 (Year 1 of 3, $25,000 total)

To introduce Memory Cafés in Oshkosh that serve those with early stage dementia, mild memory loss or cognitive impairment, and the family and friends of those affected.

Recipient: Alzheimer's Association of Greater Wisconsin


Transitional Living: $13,000 planning grant

To hire an individual to spearhead a transitional housing initiative for domestic violence and focus on securing a transitional housing facility, searching for funding alternatives, and building community relationships.

Recipient: Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services


Outreach Center for People with Mental Illness: $25,000

To support a three-month "pop-up place" as a pilot for establishing a permanent Friendship Place location in Oshkosh to minimize isolation of adults with severe and persistent mental illness and encourage them to be more active, contributing members of our communities.

Recipient: Friendship Place


Tackling Wicked Problems Learning Experience: $17,500

To provide area leaders with tools to question the current way social challenges are addressed and envision new models for supporting social change.

Collaborators: Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and Forward Community Investments


Road to Work Project: $50,000 (Year 2 of 3, $150,000 total)

To provide refugees with intensive employment-related training services including workplace literacy, interpreters as needed and support of transportation, child care, work clothing and other needs.

Collaborators: ADVOCAP, Winnebago County Literacy Council


Skills Enhancement Program: $7,500 (Year 2 of 3, $22,500 total)

To help low-income wage earners access the education and training needed to secure higher-paying jobs with benefits so they can transition from dependence on public assistance to economic self-sufficiency.

Recipient: ADVOCAP


Living Healthy Community Clinic: $25,000 (Year 3 of 3, $75,000 total)

To provide confidential, cost-effective, high quality primary care to low income, uninsured Winnebago County residents.

Collaborators: Living Healthy Community Clinic, Affinity Health Systems, Aurora Medical Group, ThedaCare


Children's Vision Screening Project: $4,000 (Year 2 of 2, $6,000 total)

To offer Certified Children's Vision Training for staff at two Oshkosh Head Start sites along with support of free vision screenings, vision care follow ups if needed, and children's early literacy instructional materials.

Recipient: Prevent Blindness Wisconsin




$570,000 in new grant commitments

$370,000 in grants distributed


NeighborCARE: $100,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)

Use the principals of "asset based community development" to mobilize community volunteers and match them to the needs of aging adults facing limitations and isolation. 

Collaborators: Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin; Aging & Disability Resource Centers of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago Counties;


Driven to Empower: $25,000

To identify ways to overcome transportation barriers facing victims of abuse through affordable car repair services, education on car repair and maintenance, and empowerment through potential new career opportunities.

Collaborators: Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs;


Sober Living: $25,000 Planning Grant (SILE)

To investigate the requirements of establishing sober living houses in Appleton and Oshkosh to provide supportive housing after treatment and increase a person's ability to achieve long-term sobriety.

Collaborators: STEP Industries, The Mooring Programs, Inc. NOVA Counseling Services


Social Innovation Leadership Experience (SILE): $80,000

A unique, executive education program to create a mind shift in nonprofit executive directors from basic needs-related organizations in Northeast Wisconsin. 

Collaborators: Marquette University, UW-Oshkosh, Innovative Learning Strategies


Strong Hands, Strong Minds & Loving Hearts: $140,000

To help children and families in Wisconsin escape from poverty via literary initiatives, in honor of our 2013 Guest of Honor, Donald Driver. 

Recipient:  Donald Driver Foundation



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